Lois & Clark Fan Fiction
By Scarlett Burns
This is an alternate beginnings story. I asked myself two questions: what if there was an alien presence as Clark grew up, and how would that affect his life? I set it in the time of the Pilot, and this story is the result! I hope you enjoy!
Sliding his wire-frame glasses on with a shaky hand, sweat beaded on his forehead, and he forced a calming breath into his lungs.
He knew better than to take his glasses off, to let his guard down, to lose his focus and delicate balance of control.
He could never lose control. Not in front of anyone. Ever. Just now was a perfect example of why.
Clark Kent had let his control slip – for just a fraction of a moment – and he'd set fire to his latest copy. He'd been so deep in thought he hadn't realized that he was literally boring a hole into the small stack of papers sitting neatly on the table in front of him; that is, until they caught on fire.
That couldn't happen with his glasses on; that was why he wore them.
All the time.
Clark picked up the wet cloth he'd used to smother the small fire on his coffee table, hand only slightly steadier than when his copy went up in smoke.
Wiping up the ashes of what was once his next story, he cursed himself for his stupidity. This didn't used to happen so often… these losses in concentration and control.
It was all starting to get to him. His way of life – so crucial to his survival – ate away at him like a cancer, a little more every day. He'd removed people that he cared about from his life like damaged organs in a desperate hope to salvage what he could for their sake, and selfishly, his own.
Now he was alone – a condition he'd worked so hard to achieve. He was cut off from his family, for fear of their own safety.
But on the bad days he thought to himself: was it really worth it? As different as he was, and as much of a loner as he'd always been, he still felt more and more like an outcast each and every day. Now it was almost an unbearable torture to watch the world around him and feel so separated… so alien to the very society to which he belonged, lived in, and loved.
Clark dumped the ashes of his ruined story into the trash, rubbing his face tiredly as he took a seat on the couch. Feeling the prickle of his goatee he was reminded that he should shave soon – at least trim it up – but the simple act was something he dreaded.
He didn't particularly like the goatee, but it changed his look and served its purpose well in that respect. Then, there was the fact that there was only one way for him to shave, and it involved using an unexplainable power to do so.
The ringing of his phone made him start, and lifting his face out of his hands he gave the inanimate object an angry glare. One more ring and he stood up, walked over to the phone and answered.
"Are you watching TV?" his boss asked anxiously, skipping any form of rudimentary greeting. The editor of the Eagle rarely had time for such niceties.
"No," Clark answered unenthusiastically. Why couldn't breaking news happen when he wasn't so damn tired? "Should I be?"
"Should you…" His boss, Andy Miller, nearly exploded. "Kent! How you became a reporter I will never know. Turn it to LNN. I'll wait."
Clark set down the phone and did as Miller asked, turning the station until the familiar LNN logo was visible in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
Then he froze.
Damn. He truly hated this type of story. Maybe hate was the wrong word… no, he feared it, and wanted nothing to do with anything connected to it.
Yet, Miller was about to make him cover it, he was sure.
The news story sent his heart into a wild, irregular rhythm.
They'd attacked StarLabs; a high tech laboratory based in Metropolis. It had been a long time since they'd hit somewhere big. Long enough to forget the ever-present threat as they waited for the right moment; when we don't expect an attack, and when our collective short-term memory has cast it out of our minds.
He listened for a moment more, then returned to the phone and his impatient boss on the other end of the line. It didn't take Miller long to get to the point… it rarely did.
"You're on the next plane to Metropolis to cover this."
"Sir," Clark began to protest, his free hand becoming a tight fist. "I'm not-"
"Kent, I am not asking you if you want to take it. You are taking it, or you're distributing freshly printed resumes. Take your pick."
"But," he started again, desperate to get out of the assignment, but again was interrupted.
"Look, I know you hate the little green men stories. Once upon a time they were prime for the National Inquisitor, but now they're proven fact, and they're the hottest stories in town. To graduate from nobody to somebody you're going to have to write one eventually. This is a great one; they've stolen from StarLabs' top secret laboratory and even abducted two top scientists."
"Doing God-knows-what to them. Yeah, great."
"Leave your righteous baggage at the door, Kent. You know what I mean. The reporter that discovers what they are here for… what they want from us… will be breaking the story of the century."
His boss still talking in his ear, Clark watched in fascination as LNN played surveillance tapes they'd acquired from StarLabs.
Shadows, quick moving shapes, blurry images. You never saw the aliens clearly, but they certainly didn't look human. Yet they had enough humanoid characteristics. Enough so that you could almost see them as some terrorist organization, and in a sense they were. They just weren't from another part of the world… rather, another part of the universe.
"Story of the century," Clark repeated automatically, still watching the surveillance footage.
"Put some emotion into that, hop on the ten o'clock, and get me that story. Your ticket is waiting in your email." Then, Miller hung up.
Clark stood unmoving for what seemed like minutes, before hanging up his end of the line, dial tone buzzing in his ear.
Turning off the TV he checked his watch. It was six, so he had to get moving if he was going to print his ticket, pack, eat and catch his flight from Denver to Metropolis. I-225 and I-70 to DIA are always a traffic nightmare, and he didn't want to think of the repercussions from his Editor-in-Chief if he missed his flight.
But before he got started he stopped himself. He didn't have to go, did he?
He'd be fired, of course, but he could get another job. Start over again.
Clark sighed. As tempting as the possibility was, he knew it was unrealistic. How many times could he do that before he got a bad reputation for quitting jobs whenever he got a story he didn't like?
How long until someone noticed that he refused to do one type of story in particular?
Writing and being a reporter was all he had, yet if he continued to run he was bound to lose that too. Then what would he have left?
Clark went into his bedroom with new resolve, and packed for his trip to Metropolis.
It wasn't until he was on the plane that panic set in.
Clark looked around cautiously. Making sure no one was watching, he popped a load of anti-anxiety pills into his mouth and downed them quickly with the glass of water that had been set in front of him a couple minutes earlier. He wasn't quite sure how many he took, but he guessed it was about ten. Leaning back in his seat he closed his eyes and tried to breath. At prescription strength one every eight hours should have sufficed, yet it seemed that only excessive doses helped with his special constitution.
Sometimes he wondered if it wasn't a placebo effect – rather than the drugs themselves – that calmed him, but at this point he was happy to take whatever effect he could get; physical or mental.
Here he was on a plane, flying out to investigate a story he dreaded getting close too. Add to it that he was claustrophobic, and he had a panic attack waiting to happen. Clark opened his eyes when he heard someone talking and realized belatedly that they were talking to him.
The flight attendant looked concerned and when he didn't answer right away, asked, "Are you alright? Do you need a sleeping pill?"
Clearly, she knew a potentially high-maintenance nervous-wreck when she saw one.
Clark flashed an uneasy smile at best, shaking his head. "Maybe another glass of water, though?"
"Of course," she said, leaving his side to get it.
They'd only taken off fifteen minutes ago and he was already feeling parched. He thanked his lucky stars that this wasn't an overseas flight, but these next four hours were going to feel like hell.
He closed his eyes again and willed himself to deepen his quick, shallow breaths.
How he hated flying! It was too bad he fell in love with a profession that required so much of it.
The stewardess came back with his water and he downed it within a few seconds. It caught in his throat and he coughed a little before getting it all down the right pipe.
The man sitting in the seat beside him – a seasoned business traveler by the looks of it – shot him an irritated look before returning to his book.
Right leg tapping anxiously to an unheard rhythm, Clark decided that a distraction might not be a bad idea. Not having the foresight to bring a book with him like his seasoned fellow passenger, he opted for the complimentary material tucked away in the seat pocket in front of him. Pulling out the only magazine that looked remotely interesting – a travel guide – he began to flip through it, forcing himself to stop the quick flutter of pages and read at a normal speed. He was going to need more than a few seconds of distraction.
He stopped on a picture of some sort of beach resort and scanned the ad, badly disguised as an article. When he first started out in the writing business he'd done one of these, and it was when he first realized how much he hated flying. Once he'd done the necessary travel for the guide, he promised himself he'd never do another. Although the anxiety was bad then, he couldn't help but admit that his claustrophobia and nerves had progressively gotten worse over time, not better.
His thoughts drifted from the cut-and-paste stock article in US Travels to his current destination. He'd never been to Metropolis before and he was a bit apprehensive about his visit to the thriving city now. When he was young, growing up in Smallville, he'd wanted to visit the "big city"… but that was before his world changed and reality shifted.
He forced his thoughts back to the present, refusing to dwell in unpleasant memories… or remembrances of before. They never did any good, and only served to spoil his mood for the remainder of the day.
Stuffing the magazine back into its place he attempted to relax back into the seat, eyes closed. Placebo effect or not, he could feel the pills starting to ease his frazzled nerves and was thankful for the momentary reprieve.
Lois was determined to get this story. It would be THE story of the century – hell, the millennium! She'd get the Kerth, the Pulitzer, and a place in history as one of the best investigative journalists of all time.
All she had to do was get herself abducted by aliens.
Sounded easy enough, but it had proved harder than originally anticipated. She had to know exactly what they looked for; the reason why some were taken, and some were left behind.
Certainly, they looked for someone with knowledge; scientists, mathematicians, politicians, people in power. Yet, they seemed to randomly take normal, everyday people as well. Even though she'd only begun this particular train of research, she had yet to uncover any tangible link between the people they were taking and not.
Then there was the matter of who they chose to return, and who they didn't… whether the disappearances meant the people were dead, kept for study, or injured was all up for debate.
Twenty years, and still the most basic questions about their arrival had yet to be answered. It was no wonder: the first fifteen years had mostly been spent in denial of their existence, and they did not include Lois Lane, investigative journalist, on the job.
Crop circles, mutilations, abductions; everyone thought they were the work of hoaxers and tall tales from crazies in Nowheresville. Who knew that they were the precursor of days to come? To an actual, real threat?
Holding a pencil loosely between her fingers, she tapped the eraser-end against the table absentmindedly.
There were some basic facts. One, they needed humans for something. Two, they were an ambivalent and nearly invisible enemy. They were, quite possibly, the greatest threat the human race had yet to see, but hadn't launched a full-scale attack.
Not that Lois was complaining, because deep down she was certain that if the aliens chose to attack their advanced race wouldn't be the ones to lose.
She'd hate them, but they were always the best story in town. Now, they were going to get her the Pulitzer. She just had to find an alien.
Easier said than done…
The phone on her Daily Planet desk rang, and she picked it after the second ring. As she listened to the man on the other end of the line, her lips quirked into a smile, and her hope at finding that alien rose just a bit higher.
Clark Kent had done enough travel to know one really couldn't expect the best accommodations at rock bottom prices, but this took that expectation down to an all new low. The room at the Apollo was not what one would call spacious, clean, comfortable or well decorated.
Was that a pay phone?
Shaking his head, he set his suitcase down near the door, not wanting to bring it in any further than necessary.
He knew the paper he worked for wasn't rolling in dough… but was this really the best they could do?
The "room" was a twenty foot by twenty foot box with unfinished cement walls and floors, and no windows.
There was no bathroom in the room, and as he'd checked into the hotel the seedy little man at the front desk had informed him of the community bathroom down the hall.
The Mulu caves in Borneo offered better accommodations than this.
Sliding off his glasses, he pinched the bridge of his nose tiredly before replacing them. Just the trip here exhausted him, much less having to stay in this hole covering the one story he didn't want to touch with a ten foot pole.
A sudden urge to call his parents in Smallville and just tell them everything – cast off the weight he'd been carrying alone for years – was almost painful. Their advice and wisdom had always done wonders to ease his frayed nerves and the temptation was nearly impossible to suppress.
Nearly, because the urge was held in check by one feeling that was stronger than all the others; fear. He feared what they would say, what they would think, what they would do… and worst of all, he wouldn't be able to hold it against them.
Better they think he left to explore the world, not to hide the secret of his freakishness.
He hadn't talked to them in over nine years; it would be exactly ten next month. Oh, once in a blue moon he used to send them postcards from places he'd traveled to let them know he was alive and well. The first couple years after he'd left, while in college, he'd even written a few letters. They had written every week at first, and every other week from his sophomore year until graduation.
He didn't attend the walk during graduation, didn't invite them to come up, and didn't come to visit before he set off in search of a job – if he was honest he knew he was in search of more than that. He also knew he'd hurt them by his actions, yet his fear of something more horrifying than disappointment shining in their eyes kept him from doing something about it.
No, he thought it much better for them to think of him in resentment for never calling or visiting, rather than disgust or fear for his frightening differences.
So almost immediately he dismissed the compulsion to call them, just as he always did.
Instead, he called his boss and thanked him for the lovely accommodations.
He returned to the bed and sat down heavily. Just as he was leaning back to relax a confident triple-knock echoed through the room, causing him to shoot back up abruptly.
His forehead crinkled in confusion, and he was at a loss as to who could possibly be at the door. Having only just arrived, he figured it had to be one of the staff… but even that seemed unlikely. This wasn't the Beverly Hilton after all, and he doubted a maid was here to put a mint on his pillow.
When he opened the door, what he found standing in front of him was surprising; a beautiful, no-nonsense brunette woman – around his age – in a navy blue business suit. One eyebrow rose inquisitively as she looked him up and down.
"So, I hear you can lead me to an alien."